By James O'Connor
Mallow’s James Sugrue and Peter O’Keeffe of Douglas will lead an experienced Munster side into the Interprovincial Championships in Athenry from the 29th to 31st of August.
Both Sugrue and O’Keeffe were selected through the Munster Order of Merit, and have played very well over the past three months, getting to the final stages of the South of Ireland and the Irish Close.
This tops off an extremely consistent season for Sugrue, which includes a 64 in Baltray in the Open qualifying and a 66 in the first round of the South of Ireland.
The +2 handicapper also made it through to the last 32 in the British Amateur and won the Senior Scratch Cup in Fota Golf Resort earlier this year.
Munster have opted for experience in their five remaining selections, and for Garry O Flaherty, 2018 will mark his 20th appearance at the Interpro’s.
The Cork GC man first played as a 17-year-old in Mount Juliet, and with six wins under his belt, he’ll be leading the Munster charge in Athenry.
Eanna Griffin (Waterford), Andrew McCormack (Castletroy) and Geoff Lenehan of Portmarnock were all well placed on the order of merit and retain their places on the Munster team, while John Hickey (Cork GC) and Kinsale’s Cathal Butler make their return to the team having missed out last year.
Munster will be without the firepower of stars Robin Dawson (Tramore) and John Murphy (Kinsale). Dawson, who was leading Munster’s Order of Merit and Ireland’s leading amateur at seventh in the World Rankings, will be unavailable as he’s playing in the Scottish Strokeplay in Gleneagles.
Murphy, who was fourth in the Order Merit, had a sensational season including winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy and recently won the Killarney Scratch Trophy by fifteen shots.
Recent form would have guaranteed his selection but he has returned to the US for the start of the college year.
Munster Senior Interprovincial Team 2018: C Butler (Kinsale), E Griffin (Waterford), J Hickey (Cork), G Lenehan (Portmarnock), A McCormack (Castletroy), G O’Flaherty (Cork), P O’Keeffe (Douglas), J Sugrue (Mallow)
Captain: M Coote
Selectors: G Mellerick & J McHenry
Team Manager: G Mellerick
Coach: F Twomey.